بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Q: Some have determined that it is not befitting to warn the common folk from specific innovators (by name), because they will not accept the criticism of them. They say that we should progress gradually with them as it relates to teaching the Sunnah and innovation, and when they understand, then we mention their (the innovators) names. Is this correct?
A: Yes, this is correct and we are upon this, if Allah wills. This is because our call, the call of Ahlus Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah is wisdom. Like Allah said to His Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam-, and the speech is general encompassing him and every caller to Allah upon wisdom.
ادْعُ إلى سبيل ربك بالحكمة و الموعظةِ الحسنةِ و جادِلْهم بالتي هي أَحْسن
“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom, good admonishment, and argue with them in a better way.” [An-Nahl: 125]
Ali -radi Allahu anhu- said: “Call the people to that with which they are familiar.” Thus it is incumbent that the insightful caller looks at the benefits and harms. So if the people of a country’s love for a man becomes strong and deep rooted, due to him being their imam, and them not knowing religiousness except from him, yet the caller deems him to be an astray innovator, then he should not say a thing against him (the innovator). Instill in them a love for the Sunnah and its people and warn from innovation in a general sense. (Say) this is innovation, that is innovation, like this, until it enters their souls and their hearts are at ease concerning it. ِAs for starting with it, this is wrong.
Furthermore, from the heads of innovation are men who are quite often in positions of authority within the country. For example, the minister of Islamic affairs, or the head of the judiciary, or the head judge of the country etc. This (type of individual) it would not be right to warn against him, due to it harming our call and not benefiting it. In Al Bukhari’s authentic collection, upon the authority Ayesha she said:
“Indeed a man sought permission to enter upon Allah’s Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam-, so he said, “Grant him permission. O what an evil brother of his tribe.” When he entered, he -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- was friendly and cheerful, and spoke softly to him. Thus when the man exited, it was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, you said what you said yet we noticed you were soft spoken in speech, friendly and cheerful towards him.” He said, “Indeed the most evil of people on the Day of Resurrection are those whom the people abandon being cautioned from his evil.”(1)
Therefore some people are neither boycotted nor warned against, because its evil will harm the people of Islam. As for the mistaken one, that which is within himself, it is not correct, yet he is not boycotted, nor is he held in high esteem.
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi
Source: مجموعة الرسائل الجابرية في مسائل علمية وفق الكتاب و السنة النبوية: المجموعة الثانية
1: The hadith is translated in the manner in which Sheikh Ubayd mentioned it, however I’m not familiar with the wording the Sheikh quoted.